Thursday, February 22, 2024

Ballarat festival aims for sustainability

The City of Ballarat Council is striving to make the 2023 Ballarat Begonia Festival the most environmentally sustainable yet. 

Building on the work of previous festivals, the Council says sustainability will be a major focus during the festival this year, with the City of Ballarat aiming to reduce the environmental footprint generated when hosting major events. 

Councillor Belinda Coates said it was integral that everybody played a role in eliminating landfill. 

“As a Council we’ve always had a strong focus on sustainability, but there’s always more that can be done,” Cr Coates said. 

“That’s why this year we’re taking things to a whole new level and we’re really excited to be having all the Ballarat people who come to the festival, as well as the visitors, jump on board with us and make this the most sustainable Begonia Festival yet.” 

Aligning closely with Goal 1 of the Council Plan 2021-2025: An environmentally sustainable future, this year the City of Ballarat will undertake a range of initiatives to ensure as little waste as possible becomes landfill. 

At the 2020 Begonia Festival – the most recent festival in the traditional format due to the COVID-19 pandemic – there was more than 4,000 kilograms of waste created, highlighting the importance of effective waste management. 

Efforts at this year’s festival will include:

  • Dividing waste into five collection streams: landfill, recycling, organics and glass at designated waste stations, and a designated cardboard collection for stallholders and vendors;
  • Each waste station will be staffed by two City of Ballarat environmental and waste staff, who will be on hand to support the community to demonstrate how the future of recycling and waste disposal in Ballarat could work;  
  • Ensuring all packaging sold from food vendors and stallholders is recyclable or compostable, including the banning of all single-use plastic products such as drink bottles and plastic cutlery;
  • All organic waste from the festival will go to a nearby worm farm, where it will get repurposed as compost and used as worm food;
  • Using local company ‘GroundUp Coffee Recyclers’ to collect the used coffee grounds from the coffee vendors to then be delivered to regenerative and small-scale farmers in the Ballarat region.  

In addition to these Council initiatives, festival goers are also encouraged to do their bit in reducing the environmental impact, including: 

  • Choose Tap: Bring your own reusable drink bottle; fill it up for free at one of the water points in the gardens; or purchase an aluminum drink bottle from our community partner Central Highlands Water and ‘choose tap’ when having a drink of water. All proceeds from the bottle sales go to Central Highlands Water’s selected community organisation 
  • Bring your own shopping bags 
  • Bring your own keep cup for tea and/or coffee 
  • Have a chat to our friendly City of Ballarat environmental and waste staff at the waste stations or their information marquee at the festival. 
  • Place rubbish in the appropriate bins provided to support our circular economy. 
  • Engage with our environmental and waste staff and discuss any queries you might have. 

The Ballarat Begonia Festival returns over the Labour Day long weekend, Saturday 11 to Monday 13 March, 10am – 5pm.  

Festival goers can expect vibrant floral displays, expert garden talks and presentations, markets, live music, family activities, roving entertainment and much more. Find out more about the event at the Ballarat Begonia Festival website

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